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Jan 18, 2019 1:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Continues To Fight East End Opioid Crisis With Community's Help

The Southampton Town Opioid Addiction and Recovery Committee met with East End police chiefs and Westhampton Beach High School Students to produce a Public Service Announcement on the dangers of opioids on Wednesday. COURTESY CONNIE CONWAY
Jan 22, 2019 5:43 PM

On January 16, Southampton Town officials took another step in the ongoing effort to control the opioid epidemic plaguing the East End.

With the help of local police chiefs and several high school students, the Southampton Town Opioid Addiction and Recovery Committee produced a public service announcement on the dangers of opioids. The PSA is set to air on local government channels, and will also be used in schools and other community groups, according to a press release. A time and date for the release has not yet been determined.

The PSA, which was produced at no cost to the town by American Portfolios Financial Services Inc. in Holbrook, will feature former News 12 Anchor Drew Scott, who lost his 22-year-old granddaughter, Hallie Ulrich, to an opioid overdose in 2017, as well as five East End town police chiefs—including Steven Skrynecki of Southampton, Michael Sarlo of East Hampton, James Read of Shelter Island, Martin Flatley of Southold, and David Hegermiller of Riverhead. Additionally, six students from Westhampton Beach and Tuckahoe high schools participated in filming the announcement.

Westhampton Beach High School counselor James Garvey, spoke on behalf of high school seniors Natalie Gosnell and MacKenzie Jenkins. He explained that Ms. Jenkins has been “personally influenced” by people who have abused drugs, and pointed to Ms. Gosnell’s position as president of the school’s Youth To Youth program, which focuses on drug and alcohol peer prevention.

“It’s an opportunity for them to make a public stance on what they believe in,” he said.

Bill Donohue, vice president of the Holbrook-based financial consulting firm, noted that the problem is something the students may be dealing with all the time.

“These kids are walking the same hallways that kids have walked in the past and some of those kids have OD’d,” he said. “It’s a real problem and it’s scary. So awareness is key.”

Chief Skrynecki added that the PSA is also designed to heighten awareness and provide encouragement to individuals who may be addicted to seek help.

Since the Southampton task force was created in 2017, the municipality has seen a substantial decrease in the number of opioid related deaths—in 2017, police reported 19 deaths, whereas in 2018 that number dropped to six. However, Chief Skrynecki said that even one death is one too many. “This fight is far from over,” he said.

That’s where the PSA comes in. Mr. Donohue, who is in the process of completing a film series called “Unspoken Now Told,” which highlights the stories of several individuals who have struggled with overcoming addiction, said the announcement is very straightforward.

“If you take a chance, you could die,” he said. “It doesn’t skirt around any issues.”

The unified effort is just one of the recommendations made by the town’s task force. The town has also launched a new website, www.findhelpsouthampton.com, where individuals can find resources to help overcome their addiction.

“This is a terrific site … to end the cycle of addiction,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “Just one death is one too many.”

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That's it? A public service announcement playing where? Let's stop the bs let's make this crap illegal. The epidemic is getting worse.
There was just a case in Sufflolk County an illegal handgun, heroin, and fentanyl all large amounts and the guy is out on bail in 12 hrs. Why? Because the liberals want low to no bail in NY. These people never come back to court and make the cops jobs even harder. I've never seen more lower moral, and more disgusted cops in my life. They are handcuffed from ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 19, 19 12:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
You have it all wrong. We must not look at distractions like the mass production of Fentanyl in China, which is responsible for most of the opioid deaths in the US. Ask any leftist, and they'll point out it's the fault of the users for luring the innocent Chinese into the Fentanyl business, just as the cartels south of the border are also victims of American's drug use. We must not be tempted to blame the dealers, or the gangs providing the distribution infrastructure. These are often groups of ...more
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Jan 19, 19 3:46 PM
I have literally never heard anyone say that besides you, moron.

Do you expect Town Hall to declare war on the cartels?
Jan 20, 19 4:55 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
Maybe you think Southampton should stop trading with China?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Jan 20, 19 4:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ask the liberals ? Do you remember the Rockefeller drugs laws? They didn’t work.bail is not meant to be punitive, it’s to make sure you show up for court. You can both keep blaming “liberals” if that’s your boogeyman, so be it.addiction is a problem that knows no party lines, it’s a scourge.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jan 19, 19 4:51 PM
Drugs have been around forever. You can stop doing drugs, you can't make someone else. It starts with the person, home, family THEN the law.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 19 5:17 PM
When bail laws were made there were no drugs and murder was almost non existent. Let them out with low bail great idea
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 20, 19 1:33 AM
That's the most ignorant thing I've read in a while. The human pharmacopoeia predates the medieval origins of bail and the Magna Carta by thousands of years.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 20, 19 4:18 AM
Actually, Chief is mostly right:. "Distilling techniques were brought to Ireland and Scotland sometime between 1100 and 1300 by monks. Since wine was not easily obtained in Ireland and Scotland, barley beer was distilled into liquor which became whisky. The manufacturing of distilled spirits was limited to apothecaries and monasteries until the late 15th century."
Magna Cartsa and "bail" pre-dates that.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jan 20, 19 7:18 AM
Is wine not a drug?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Jan 20, 19 7:28 AM
Meade is the oldest of wines .7,000 bce
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jan 20, 19 8:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
From Live Science........Origins of Human Alcohol Consumption Revealed. Human ancestors may have begun evolving the knack for consuming alcohol about 10 million years ago, long before modern humans began brewing booze, researchers say.Dec 1, 2014. as to chiefs bail argument , from Wikipedia.....In pre-independence America, bail law was based on English law. Some of the colonies simply guaranteed their subjects the protections of that law. In 1776, after the Declaration of Independence, those that ...more
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jan 20, 19 7:29 AM
Instead of filming a new PSA, they could have used the “This is your brain on drugs” PSA from the Reagan era. It didn’t work then, it’s not going to work now.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jan 20, 19 9:06 AM
Funny how you NEVER see the Chief of Southampton Village helping the community..Where are you Chief Cummings? Hiding in your office!!
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jan 20, 19 9:47 AM
On other equally important matters, Chief Steven Skrynecki has a penchant for untruthfulness, inaction & avoidance.
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Jan 20, 19 10:23 AM
Maybe he is helping the community and is not looking for publicity.
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Jan 20, 19 9:34 PM
1 member liked this comment